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Rockwood Gem and Mineral Society
St. Louis, Missouri

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ROCKWOOD ROCKHOUND NEWS
April 2004

 

After Bob Morse saved us from a "mechanical malfunction", we were quite fortunate to view the AFMS Award winner for best slide program, In Search of South Dakota’s Fairburn Agate. This very humorous slide show used wonderful photography to portray a couple’s trip through South Dakota in search of the rare and unique Fairburn agate. These little agates are usually smaller than an egg and have very distinctive banding of oranges, reds and browns in interesting patterns. They sell for anywhere between $30-$80.

The journey led them to many interesting places such as The National Rock & Lapidary Hall of Fame in Murdo South Dakota, Wall Drugstore, around the Badlands, through the Chamberlain Pass and into the Black Hills. They even stopped and investigated the gravel dumped around the Minute Man Missile Fortification.

Cactus, snakes, wind and vast stretches of empty prairie lands made the search for the elusive Fairburn quite a challenge! Page 3

Association News

The Association is hard at work planning for the 2004 Show in August and the Midwest Federation Show that will be held here in 2005. Last year our participation earned the club $975. Remember, we get points for anything that we do whether it is serving as an officer, on committees, or entering an exhibit or a competition. The Association is currently looking for a treasurer.

Science Fair

Once again we will be giving two prizes for appropriate Earth Science projects in both the elementary and the secondary fairs. This year we voted to increase the gift certificates from Borders to $40 for the elementary winner and $50 for the secondary winner. The Science Fair is at Queeny Park on April 12 & 16.

Thanks to Mary and Alan Parrott for the donation of books, etc. to the club.

We also wish to express our appreciation to Pat Bretell for taking over the Hospitality position for our club.

We still need an education chairman.

News From Other Clubs

ROCKHOUNDS ARE SURE FUNNY CRITTERS!

by Lorna Horne

The price of steak may dismay them and they will often pass it by, then turn right around and spend more per pound on a rock. Goodness knows they cannot eat the rock, but they can display it, dust it, brag about it, or maybe even wear it.

They have been known to move dirty dishes out of the sink so they can wash rocks.

They seem to find a therapeutic effect in rocks. A rockhound can be droopy and moping around the house with a big case of the "blahs", but they will go rock hunting with you if you just ask, without urging. Sometime later they will find that the sinus condition (sore muscles, backache, or whatever) has miraculously improved and they feel fine.

They will walk for miles in search of a good specimen, climb mountains and go down into the gullies. They get hot, tired, dirty and bug bitten. Then they return to their vehicle, after all the effort, and usually find that one of the very best specimens was on the ground beside the car all the time. They are amateur geologists, mineralogists, and paleontologists. They are "amateurs" in the lapidary arts, yet they produce work of great beauty and merit.

They are interested in everything and are themselves interesting. They are curious,humorous, talented,skillful, lovely people who wear split britches, old shoes and funny hats.

(Via: South Gate Boulder Buster, Rock Talk, & South Auckland Rock & Mineral Club)

How to Clean

Minerals.

Fluorite can be cleaned with muriatic acid.

Barite can be cleaned in hydrochloric acid. It will loosen clay and iron.

For water soluble minerals, use alcohol.

For carbonate minerals try full strength Clorox.

Sulfide minerals such as pyrite and marcasite can be made bright by soaking over night in a solution of oxalic acid (2 oz to one qt. of water)

The red and brown stains so often associated with quartz can usually be removed by a concentrated solution of oxalic acid.

For black stains made by manganese, try diluted hydrochloric acid. Caution: Always remember the formula :always add acid. meaning to always add acid to water, never the reverse, to keep down any possibility of accidents

To clean desert roses, immerse in a solution of Axion for at least 12 hours. Brush lightly and rinse in clear water.

Shop Tips

Spic & Span has oxalic acid in it and is especially good in the polishing agent. The monument maker uses a weak solution of oxalic acid to acquire the glassy shine on granite. It is used as a polishing aid. Dissolve a little acid in water and work into the felt buff or add to the polishing paste and try on agates. A piece of corduroy glued to soft rubber makes a fine inexpensive polishing material. (Via: Achates)